BluRay/DVD Reviews

NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF OZPLOITATION!

By • Nov 23rd, 2009 •

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Mark Hartley has been making ‘making of’ docs in the past decade, working with the likes of Criterion, Severin and Blue Underground. He has also done a slew of music videos, and some long form docs on Australian filmmakers such as Peter Weir, Philip Noyce and Bruce Beresford.

I think his music video work gets in the way here, particularly in the first part of the film. I found myself frustrated by clips that were so short (often being split-screened to keep things moving along) that despite the wonderful array of naked ladies, I felt that tracking down the films to watch would be a waste of time because those little snippets were probably all there was of prurient value in each film. I could obviously be wrong, but that’s the effect those minuscule film bites had on me. Hartley has also unearthed many of the ladies featured in said clips, and their interview bites are equally too short to enjoy. As with much of the film, he’s done his homework too well, and suffers from an excess of riches.

Later, when he gets into horror, then action, etc., longer clips had me genuinely hyped and jotting down titles for future reference. Dennis Hopper recalls being his prime self while making MAD MAN MORGAN in 1976, not too long after his uber-indulgent THE LAST MOVIE, and clips make that a must to catch up with (imminent release from Troma). Philippe Mora, the film’s director, makes himself heard (he also directed THE HOWLING IV – THE MARSUPIALS). Some of the other luminaries who make brief appearances are George Lazenby, Jamie Lee Curtis, Richard Franklin, Stacy Keach, Ted Kotcheff, and Susannah York. Rod Taylor makes his now-typical 10-second appearance (as he does in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS). And speaking of IB, Quentin Tarantino dazzles us with his encyclopedic knowledge of Ozpolitation. He’s in fine form, praising the material, recalling the most obscure releases. John Waters also has many kind words to say about the films coming out of Australia during that period.

As a supplemental, there’s an audio interview with Richard Franklin (PATRICK, PSYCHO II), now deceased. That’s an important artifact to have available.

So, in balance, an imbalanced work, but when it moves the viewer to pursue one of the many titles discussed, it’s obviously done its job. I can’t wait to get my hands on RAZORBACK, which, oddly, showed up on the Warner Bros Archive release list. I hope it’s uncut…

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